Working the Last Light of Day
photo and photo description by France Freeman
When it rains in Tortuguero, it pours, and when it clears it is one of the most beautiful areas in Costa Rica.
The very small village of Tortuguero is nestled between the powerful Caribbean Sea and the scenic Tortuguero River. It takes only minutes to walk the dirt trails from one side to the other and while there are handful of local hotels and restaurants there are no cars as there are no roads to come by. Travel to the area is only by plane and boat, rush hour is a few dugout canoes paddling the quiet river and noise is the hum of the occasional boat motor droning on in the distance like the buzz of a bumblebee. In this quiet stillness the surroundings seem to come alive. And alive it is!
Neighboring the village is Tortuguero National Park, home and refuge to hundreds of species of birds and mammals, including many endangered species. Have one of the naturalist guides take you boating along the canals and with their amazing spotting skills you’re likely to see Iguanas, Sloth, Crocodiles, Monkeys and all kinds of wild creatures, walk the beach during “Turtle Season” to see Sea Turtle hatchlings, or just take a seat near the river and see what creeps, crawls, climbs or flies by. This is a great area for camera and binoculars!
On the day in January I took this picture the day was perfect, warm and sunny. Local children were running and playing through the village and adults gathered in the shade for talk and respite from the afternoon heat. We walked barefoot along the shore and explored the long sandy beach, watching the crashing waves until the light faded in soft hues over the Caribbean Sea. As we navigated the the trails through the dusk, back toward our room in the village, I noticed the richness of the sunset sky was still reflecting off the river, fiery through the trees. A local man, taking advantage of the cool of evening to finish his work moved into the scene, pushing a wheel barrow, silhouetted by the glowing light and framed by the palms - it was magic. Using a palm tree to steady my camera in the low light I was just able to capture the moment. A few minutes later I felt a raindrop and then a few more and then it was time to run for shelter before the downpour and renewal of the jungle forest.